As part of our strategy class, Renault came to our department and wanted to know what their brand would be in the future; what kind of value it would. have and what it would make it stand apart.
Renault is a brand with a lot of history and for many people, it might be the quintessential French auto maker that produces reliable and fashionable cars for a good price; it also has a strong racing heritage that is still present today; and with its current design direction, it wants to appeal to the next generation of consumers.
We also proposed that instead of building an in house AI, Renault should approach either Google, Apple, Amazon or Microsoft and use their source code to develop their own driving algorithms and power the Renault AI. This would not only cut down drastic time in development, but would allow for a more seamless connection to the end users’ online life and personal information, giving them an edge over the rest.
Combined with the Renault inspired AI that would “unlock” certain skills, users would have a compelling reason to either subscribe to a future Renault service and grow with the cars, or follow the legacy model of vehicle acquisition.
Autonomous Cars will incorporate multiple sensors and entertainment services; this will also drastically change the entertainment world with a new market of users who look for some kind of entertainment during their commutes. National Public Radio’s (NPR) local Pasadena radio station KPCC came to our department and wanted to know how the future, if any, of the radio would be in these kinds of vehicles.
We then came across with a valuable insight that drove our project: the magic of radio is in its voice because although the distribution method may have changed, the radio’s biggest advantage is its way of transmission and the lack of visuals that allow the users to imagine what they are hearing. We decided to re-structure our project and instead of following the traditional approach, we pointed towards keeping the audio in the center of our experience and use the other senses to complement the story-telling.
We envision an experience where the user would start by saying their routine to their home speaker, for example, to start with the news which in this case the preferred source was KPCC NPR, and as they progress through their daily schedule, the feed follows them across multiple environment from the room, to the kitchen and finally to the car.
Utilizing seat motors, mood lighting and climate control, we envision a future where not only the audio quality would be better but also far more immersive. Because the audio is going through the internet, it can also transmit additional information for the on-board system to modify different aspects of the cabin.
Congestion in urban centres has been a problem for many cities; we know that effective, frequent public transport can help drastically reduce congestion and make the urban spaces more enjoyable.
Our research began by investigating why people knowing that public transport is good for urban mobility, would usually shine away from it. The common issue that emerged was that primarily, they did not wish to wait for a bus and when they got on, they felt uncomfortable because of the other passengers. Interestingly, social interaction was something they wanted but only with certain people.
These findings where what ruled the development of the AmiGO concept, a public-private ride sharing service that using the information required for autonomy could be leveraged to make the riding experience more enjoyable and stimulate ridership of these kinds of transport services.
We know that thanks to automation in the transport industry, the public transport model would change drastically, and in order for this massive coordinated effort to work, it would require information from users. Privacy was a concern, and interestingly, many of our interviewed said that were willing to give out this information if it meant a better ride experience and they could easily control what kind of information was disclosed.
Car manufactures, ride hailing services and many other companies propose a future where congestion is gone; ride hailing and sharing has become the norm and cities are more livable. Two very important, and in some cases uncomfortable, questions emerge: how does that perfect world work and how was it developed?
This project focused around understanding what developments at an infrastructure level would be needed in order to achieve these proposed visions for the future. We focused mainly in researching advancements in construction, city planning and policy, as well as urban renewal plans to understand how the cities would change.
We understood that there could be two possible future scenarios; one, where as explained before, autonomy would radically change the cities for the better, with less vehicles on the roads and a cultural understanding that ride sharing is the norm, and the other possible scenario is one that is much bleaker, where there is no drastic change of mentality and instead of making the cities better, the cars would congest them even more and bring them to their braking point.
We then concluded that in order for the first scenario to come into fruition, besides the change in attitude and mentality, there had to be development of both digital and physical infrastructure. Cities would have to develop a city wide AI system that along with the vehicles would be able to work in synergy to make a seamless system.
Architecture and urban development, much like transport, are dealing with how the future of cities will be; with citizens wanting more livable spaces, more connection to their environments and locals, this project which was a joint design exercise with the Supra Studio at UCLA, looked to uncover and understand where transport and urban design cross and how by working together we can propose better solutions.
Focused on the Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, we were approached by the City Hall who wanted to know how to make this iconic strip prosper and thrive in the future.
As a team, three UCLA Urban Designers and I, understood that the City Hall wants a vibrant and colorful Sunset; one that brings about commerce and both locals and visitors into this new energetic area. From an urban perspective, we decided to elevate the walkways to the second floor; this could allow for a direct view of the city, and since the area is mostly composed of two story building, grow and use the same structure beneath.
From a transport perspective, we predict that since Sunset Boulevard will once again become a place to be rather than a place to pass by, this would be a location where trips would either start or end, and shared type of vehicles would be the majority.